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"A work of art is a strange tool. It is an alien implement that affords us the opportunity to bring into view everything that was hidden in the background...Art is itself a research practice, a way of investigating the world and ourselves."

Alva Noe, philosopher, University of California at Berkeley

Latter-Day Cave Painter

Since childhood, Max has used forms from nature, including the human body, to expose the rough edges and deep mysteries of human experience. Taken as a whole, his expressive yet enigmatic mark-making displays a delirious inventiveness and frenetic experimentation.

His early student work ranged from portraits to color field paintings and kinetic sculptures. In college, rigorous courses in anatomy and life drawing gave him a thorough familiarity with the human body and an ease of representation which enabled him to break free and create expressive figures spontaneously from imagination. Whereas in youth, he strove for technical virtuosity and precision, in maturity he has returned to the spontaneity and looseness of childhood.

His mature work began more than 30 years ago in the tradition of Goya, Picasso and Francis Bacon, with figurative paintings and drawings using distortion to achieve emotional power. Some of his early drawings from that period also presaged the irreverent, hallucinatory compositions of George Condo and lowbrow artists like Todd Schorr.

Impatient to experiment, he switched from painting to drawing on canvas, then moved exclusively to paper, and his style evolved more rapidly and ranged widely. He discovered and studied prehistoric rock art and was inspired by the affinities between his markings and our species' longest-lasting and most universal art tradition.

Like street artists from Keith Haring to Shepard Fairey, he uses stylized elements and abstracted figures as signifiers in a visual language. And like Henri Michaux and other surrealist or visionary artists, he often improvises on natural forms, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, in enigmatic, dreamlike ways.

Many of his works on paper have been created as elements in an ongoing, nonlinear visual narrative, so that they can be viewed either individually, as series, or in montage.

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